Levon Aronian Wins FTX Road To Miami

GM Levon Aronian won the FTX Road to Miami tournament on Sunday after a second convincing win over GM Wei Yi. The Armenian-American grandmaster won both games with the black pieces.

Sunday’s game was a must win for Wei, but the Chinese general manager never had any serious chances. As the tournament progressed, Aronian seemed to be playing chess better and better day by day. Interestingly, he only won with the black pieces in both the semi-finals and the finals.

Moving away from the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Aronian was slightly better throughout the first game (a Nimzo-Indian instead). It should have ended in a draw, but with 16 seconds on the clock (against 37 for Aronian; the games are 15+10), Wei made a fatal mistake:

Already in grave danger, Wei opted for the Modern as Black in the next game, but it didn’t quite work out. In fact, Aronian was winning several times, but the Chinese finally held the draw to keep his hopes alive:

Wei Yi FTX route to Miami
Wei Yi was satisfied with second place. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

The third game was a must-win for the Chinese player, who came up with the whimsical 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g4!?, a move he himself faced with the black pieces two months ago . This led to a fairly playable position, but Aronian simply played better chess:

“He was playing extremely strong and he was close,” Aronian said. “In the time rush he was making mistakes, but without that it could have gone either way, of course.”

Aronian also noted his “steady progress” in this tournament: “I didn’t really deserve to be in the top eight because my play was so bad, but after that I think I pulled myself together.”

“The result was not good today, but I think the games were interesting,” Wei said. “But he played really well, and maybe I didn’t have a chance.”

2022 FXT Road To Miami Results

The fifth event of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022, the FXT Road To Miami, took place July 10-17, 2022 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a rapid round robin (15 | 10) with 16 players. The top eight players advanced to the knockout stage which consisted of four quick four-game matchdays, which progressed to blitz (5 | 3) and armageddon (white has five minutes; black, four without increment) are only decided if a knockout match was tied. The price was $150,000.

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